Arsene Wenger may have been offered one last chance to redeem his future at the Emirate if he could go all the way to win the Europa League just like Mourinho did for Manchester United last season. Wenger has been under fire following a run of poor results, leaving them out of the Champions League spot on the league table. Despite missing out on the elite competition this season, there is no guarantee they would qualify next season. Just last week, Arsenal lost embarrassingly to Man City at the Carabao Cup final, in a last attempt to add one more silverware to cabinet.
Arsenal will be facing a revamped AC Milan under aggressive Gatusso and only if they could scale past the Rosonerri, it is no guarantee they will go ahead to win because the competition have still got some other strong teams. But if Arsenal could win, it would be a step in the right direction and could sum up their sseason which have been underwhelmed by poor league run.
Lets look at the preview for the match against AC Milan
They were outright favourites and second favourites at the very start of the group stage in September, and now their group’s two most respected clubs do battle in the last-16.
The last time an AC Milan side hosted Arsenal was six years ago, when the Rossoneri thumped the Gunners 4-0 to progress to the Champions League quarter finals.
Any win to nil will hand Milan the initiative, but playing at home first has its own pitfalls. On the last three occasions that Milan have hosted the first leg of a post-group stage European knockout tie, the Italians have ended up eliminated.
Arsenal’s record against Italian opposition is impressive. They have won exactly twice the number of games they have lost against Italian clubs, returning a record of: W16, D9, L8. Meanwhile, Milan have an overall win rate of just 34.2% against English clubs.
AC Milan legend Ruud Gullit has warned Arsenal to prepare for a tough clash, saying: “Arsenal is going to face a good team, not a team of stars, not one you identify with certain people, but they have become stronger as a team”.
Players to watch: Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was on the scoresheet six years ago when Arsenal beat AC Milan 3-0 – albeit in vain. His duel win rate so far this season is 57.6%.
Milan’s number one custodian, Gianluigi Donnarumma, has kept five clean sheets in a row (in all comps.) – the first time in his career that he has achieved such a streak.
Stat attack: The Rossoneri have scored first and/or scored a first half winner in 11 out of their last 14 games.
It has been a long time since Arsenal last tasted any form of European glory, winning the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1994. Milan, meanwhile, are without a major European trophy since 2007.